Justin Morneau is the newest member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame, as he was inducted before Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Hailing from Canada, Morneau dreamed of being a hockey star before he found a calling in baseball. Though injuries somewhat derailed his career, he ended up having an impressive run with the Twins that lasted from 2003 to 2013.
Morneau was drafted in the third round of the 1999 amateur draft and made his major league debut in 2003, spending parts of that season and the next with the big league club. He really broke through in 2005, getting into 141 games. That year, he only batted .239 but hit 22 home runs and drove in 79. Then came 2006.
Minnesota Twins: Justin Morneau begins incredible five-year run
Morneau got off to a slow start at the beginning of 2006; he was batting just .202 on May 6 and was batting .235 as late as June 8. However, he went on a tear after that, and by the end of the year he was batting .321 with 34 home runs and 130 RBIs as the Twins overtook the Detroit Tigers to win the American League Central division.
For his efforts, Morneau won the AL MVP award. He then followed that up with four straight All-Star Game appearances, while he drove in 100 runs every year from 2006 to 2009, hitting at least 30 home runs in three of those seasons. The year he hit 23, in 2008, he batted .300 and finished second in AL MVP voting.
Morneau’s totals from 2006 to 2010: a .298 average, 136 home runs, 526 RBIs, and an OPS of .900. He was on his way to perhaps his best season yet in 2010, with an OPS of 1.055 and a .345 average, when a concussion sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, he was never quite the same after that.
Morneau did hang around for a few more years and even won a batting title with the Colorado Rockies in 2014, after he was traded by the Twins to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013. Despite the fact that his career didn’t last as long as we would have hoped for, Morneau’s run of dominance from 2006 to 2010 remains impressive and is why he has rightfully taken his place in the Twins Hall of Fame. Congrats to him on his induction!